Asia

North Korean diplomat mourned as serious loss for country

  • FILE - In this Sept. 6, 2014 file photo, North Korea's Kang Sok Ju, right, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and secretary of the WPK, shakes hands with German Ambassador to North Korea Thomas Schaefer as he leaves Pyongyang Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea to visit Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and Mongolia. Kang, a top North Korean diplomat who negotiated a short-lived 1994 deal with the United States to freeze its nuclear programs in exchange for international aid, has died of cancer, the country's state media said Saturday, May 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 6, 2014 file photo, North Korea's Kang Sok Ju, right, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and secretary of the WPK, shakes hands with German Ambassador to North Korea Thomas Schaefer as he leaves Pyongyang Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea to visit Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and Mongolia. Kang, a top North Korean diplomat who negotiated a short-lived 1994 deal with the United States to freeze its nuclear programs in exchange for international aid, has died of cancer, the country's state media said Saturday, May 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this image made from video, family and officials mourn for North Korea's foreign policy specialist Kang Sok Ju, lying in state during funeral services at the Sojang Club, Sunday, May 22, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kang died of cancer at the age of 76 on Friday, according to a news report released by the Korean Central News Agency early Saturday. (AP Photo/APTN)

    In this image made from video, family and officials mourn for North Korea's foreign policy specialist Kang Sok Ju, lying in state during funeral services at the Sojang Club, Sunday, May 22, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kang died of cancer at the age of 76 on Friday, according to a news report released by the Korean Central News Agency early Saturday. (AP Photo/APTN)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this image made from video, North Korea's foreign policy specialist Kang Sok Ju, lies in state during funeral services at the Sojang Club, Sunday, May 22, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kang died of cancer at the age of 76 on Friday, according to a news report released by the Korean Central News Agency early Saturday. (AP Photo/APTN)

    In this image made from video, North Korea's foreign policy specialist Kang Sok Ju, lies in state during funeral services at the Sojang Club, Sunday, May 22, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kang died of cancer at the age of 76 on Friday, according to a news report released by the Korean Central News Agency early Saturday. (AP Photo/APTN)  (The Associated Press)

The North Korean diplomat who negotiated a 1994 deal to freeze the country's nuclear programs in exchange for aid was mourned at his state funeral as a serious loss for the country.

Senior military and ruling party officials attended the ceremony Sunday for Kang Sok Ju, a longtime foreign policy specialist for the North, at the Sojang Club in Pyongyang. Several officials bowed before the open casket, which was later driven to Patriotic Martyrs' Cemetery where he was buried.

State media reported Kang died of esophageal cancer at age 76 on Friday.

He was Pyongyang's chief negotiator when it reached the landmark agreement with Washington in 1994. It fell apart in 2002 after revelations that the North had operated a secret nuclear weapons program in violation of the agreement.